Category Archives: soviet

MiniArt 1/35 M3 Grant MkI. with interior part 5.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Interior is finally done. All the small details painted, finished; everything wrapped up. Turret is closed ( was considering cutting a hole on the side to allow a better view into it, but I decided against it -you can see the details quite nicely through the hatch, and looking in from the turret basket.)

Yeah, there are some fit issues with the top of the hull

The engine deck is a dilemma as I want to leave the engine visible. Perhaps leaving it off, or cutting a hole in it – but then it would look strange as it would be the only place with a cutaway.

Onto the exterior, then. I am so not looking forward to adding all the tiny little bits.

MiniArt 1/35 M3 Grant MkI. with interior part 4.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Well, the hull interior is finished, the exterior is mostly done. (The rest will be added once the tracks are installed, but there is some painting and weathering to be done beforehand.)

The issue with this model is the fit – I am sure if you do 100% correctly, it fits like a glove, however, the tiny mismatches will amplify into half-millimeter gaps by the time you get to the end of the build. It would not be a problem if the model was constructed as a “shake the box” model, where all the parts fall into place with extreme precision. Here the attachment points are small, the alignment of parts is not always simple (or even clear where exactly they go), so by the end you will have issues with fitting. There are some gaps where the hull’s sides attach to the vertical parts, and some more gaps on the top of the engine compartment. More annoyingly, the back plate of the engine compartment is slightly bulging outside, because the engine is pushing it. (We are talking about less than a millimeter. I should have shaved some plastic off the engine but did not see the bulge only after I glued the part in place.)

I bought a Mig oilbrusher (dust) to try and used it inside the interior. I have to say I am impressed. You just dabble it on the surface, then use your solvent of choice (ZestIt for me) to adjust. It looks very dusty with a little effort. (Some more adjustments will be needed after looking at the photo…) Overall, not a bad thing to have, but similar results can easily be achieved in other ways. I bought a grime colored one as well – we will see how it performs. (I tried it on the bottom of the turret basket- it really “pulled together” the paint chips and rust.

Oilbrushers are not much different from “regular” oils. What sets them apart are the color choices and the matte surface/ease of use (these two are related somewhat). On the other hand, they are not as flexible, so it is something you need to decide.

But all-in-all, the interior looks great. Perhaps a bit too dirty on the photos, but I can assure you it does not look as filthy in real life. Now onto the turret interior…

The issue with assembling a complex kit like this is that building, and painting are not easy to plan. It also does not help that the instruction manual does the hull interior first, then finishes the exterior, goes on to the turret interior, and finishes with the turret exterior. It makes planning to paint even more of a nightmare if you decide to follow the suggested order. (Which I did not.)

I tried to paint everything before assembly (tried to judge what I need to paint well ahead), but several parts were left out. So once everything is dry, I am going to get my brush and start painting white manually. Not fun.

There are a lot of small pieces that need to be painted before installing them -the PE grid protecting the radio, ammo box in the turret basket, and lots of other tiny, tiny things. Checking the instruction manual, I have to say the woes do not stop once you are done with the interior -the exterior is full of PE…

Photos are great to check where to correct the paintwork.

MiniArt 1/35 M3 Grant MkI. with interior part 3.

Part 1.

Part 2.

The hull interior is almost ready, with weathering and small details all but added. The engine compartment is a huge sub-assembly on its own; it would be a model by itself, really. The very thin plastic parts are a bane of the modeler here – the same as with any MiniArt models, really.

Well, time to push this build. This is truly a marathon, and it is very easy to become fatigued with the model or losing interest. It is important to keep motivating yourself; a source of motivation for me is to see it coming together. For the longest time I only had some disjointed jumble of plastic, but now I have something that resembles an actual vehicle. Now the trick is not to rush it because, honestly, I am getting a bit tired with it, and getting very keen on starting a new project. Now that I have a Grant-shaped thing, I am going systematically through the building instructions and finishing off smaller steps I skipped. (When building and painting it is often necessary to re-order the suggested building order.) So once the engine is installed I added a bunch of tubing and whatnot -to be painted later.

Once the engine compartment is done, I add the few missing details to the fighting compartment, and start working on the turret…

MiniArt 1/35 M3 Grant MkI. with interior part 2.

Part 1.

I used Mig’s interior wash as a pin-wash for the model. It has a strange, greyish color, but once applied, it actually works very nicely. (You can also use washes made from oil paints, honestly. Use some dark-brownish color, and you will be fine.)

Part one was really a post to show that I was actually doing something. I kept going with painting stuff white (painful process), and building the interior. I was tempted to go by the “halved tank” build, but eventually I settled on being more conventional. There are so many large openings, it would be reasonably simple to show the interior without any major surgery.

I applied the wash to the details (rivets, small parts, etc), then waited a day and used a moistened Q tip (ZestIt), to remove most of it. I managed to completely clean it off some areas, which necessitates the re-application of the wash, and also created some streaks/filters in this process. I used a fine brush and a little piece of sponge to apply chips with Vallejo’s black brown.

The ammunition was painted with AK Interactive’s gold.

The interior still needs a lot of work: further weathering (some rust, some brownish filters, oil patches, some dirt and dust), and a lot of details that are still missing. Yes, I know tanks were not as weathered, rusty and dirty in real life, however I think heavy(ish) weathering helps telling a story and it creates visually interesting stories. The instructions are quite disjointed as far as the different steps go, so right now I am also painting some panels white, to repeat all the process described above… Lots of planning is needed, that is for sure.

So, somewhat better images:

MiniArt 1/35 M3 Grant MkI. with interior part 1.

There are some interesting pages to check out for reference. There is a great walkaround with some interior photos, and an amazing blog building a sister of this model here. I also took a couple of photos of the tank in Bovingdon; you can see them in this link.

You can see the model itself on MiniArt’s page– useful photos of the parts and the instructions are also published there. (Unfortunately Armorama stopped publishing build reviews of MiniArt kits, and the photos are not exactly useful.)

The build is a typical Miniart one- you have to glue together hundreds and hundreds of tiny parts. I quite like these kits -mileage may vary.  The only advice I can give is to consider it as a marathon, not a sprint.

The only thing I take an issue with is the tracks. The tracks took more time to build than the rest of the model. I have no idea why you could not have link-and-length option as well.

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So. First part: interior. Due to the necessity of painting it is difficult to know how much you should be building in one go. I tried to get as much ready as possible before the painting step. This year was not kind to me as far as modelling goes – due to the eye operation and the renovation of our place I had no time to do much work. I mainly fiddled with the tracks during boring meetings (blessings of home office).

Then the countless layers of white. This time I did not use my usual method; I tried AK’s third generation white. Well, the coverage is not adequate.

The photo is not very good – took it under a single light at night as I was pressed for time. And right now it makes no difference, really – just a little visualization of this year’s progress. (Christ…)

So next steps: painting the details, weathering the interior, assembly, and then getting on with the rest of the build. Timewise I think if you are finished the tracks, you are at halfway of the build… I will have to figure out how to display the interior -although the tank has huge doors, so it may be not necessary to cut anything.

Upcoming models…

This blog is not in the news business, but three upcoming models really caught my eyes…

 

It seems like MiniArt widens its interior kit series to the German tanks as well- the Panzer IV ausf J, more specifically. (There is an upcoming T-34/85, and, of course, there are the Grant and Lee tanks, which I still need to get.) And this when I was just about to finish my own with resin interior. (One thing I can say even without seeing the MiniArt kit: it is going to be better than the one I am doing right now -although I have not touched the poor model since I moved from the UK… I will need to finish it soon.)

 

Just when I thought I had enough of T-54/55s with interior, here comes this thing. I do not know what it is, but it looks great. And I still have their T-55 mod 1981 waiting to be built…

 

And finally this, for Takom. I am intruiged by the Cold War British armor (do not know much about it, but learning), and having readily available 1/72 kits is a great thing. I do have the Centurion (in the form of ACE’s Shot Meteor, and I am planning to get the Challenger 2 from Dragon. The 1/35 Super Conqueror from Amusing Hobby is also on the list, unless someone issues a 1/72 version. (Too many tanks to build… and 1/72 is more economical both financially and time-wise.)

 

And I have not even mentioned IBG’s upcoming British releases of Crusider tanks…

(One of the many coming out this year.)

 

So, next step:

W-models Object 775. It’s just a weird looking oddity that makes it a must-have. (Not to mention their radars and the Kondensator I also would like to have.)

 

And apparently Armory is working on a T95.

 

So there you go. New things on the “must-have” pile.

In this hobby you need unlimited funds and time to build everything you wish.

 

 

Dusting it up -Vallejo wash and AK Interactive pencil

We talked about the issues of gear acquisition… I can’t help myself, apparently. (OK, chalk it up to natural curiousity; it is not as bad as if I bought the entire range of both products on a whim, right?) While I am still trying to finally apply some paint to the Markgraf, I can do smaller projects. (Seriously; getting time to do some airbrushing is impossible… and since smaller projects will end up at the stage where airbrushing is required, it is getting more and more impossible as models pile up on the “to be sprayed” pile.)

So I have Vallejo’s dust wash (which I was playing with before), and I bought an acrylic pencil by AK Interactive, to see how it compares to my “normal” acrylic pencils bought in an art store.

 

 

I have chosen two tanks from my shelf – it is actually quite good to keep working on older models. This was Cromwell’s T29 and OKB’s UFO tank (Object 279).

What I did was to first apply the dust wash on the fenders and wheels, then adjusted the effect with a wet brush. This I did several times until I got a nice blend. Then I used the pencil (wet the tip, first), deposited some on the tank (only on a small area), then adjusted the effect with water. Sometimes I found it was better to make a “wash” in situ by adding a lot of water; sometimes I just feathered the edges to form a natural-looking dust deposit (on the sides of the fenders on the T29, for example.)

Here are the comparison photos -the before and after shots.

The dust did improve the look of the tank… It made the stark contrast on the lower hull and the fenders much better looking.

The pencil has a very light color, and it does produce tide marks when used with a lot of water (problem with all water-based products; the high surface tension drags the pigments on the side), so there is definitely a learning curve there. Just keep adjusting it as it dries, and it should be OK. It did make some very nice dust streaks on the vertical surfaces.

A little bit browner, darker color might be better for dust, but overall, not bad.

 

 

Well, the photos definitely need some improvement (the new light box does not seem to be very good), for one.

 

Let me know what you think of the results.

Trumpeter 1/72 IS-7

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Well, another tank I would have not known about had it not for World of Tanks.

There it is a top tier Soviet heavy tank; in real life it was, well, a Soviet heavy tank. The last heavy tank, in fact, in service, ever. It is a fairly obscure vehicle, so it was a very welcome surprise seeing it in plastic. (Normally you would expect small companies producing a resin version for a literal arm and leg.)

The Trumpeter kit is simple to assemble, and has pretty good detail. The whole running gear and track assembly comes as one unit, which, I have to say, was not a bad solution. It did make building quick, for sure.

After the Vallejo primer I layered citadell olive green with increasing amount of yellow onto the tank – it produces a pretty nice looking green for the tank.

I did some sponge chipping, a filter with Tamiya transparent yellow, and some blending with oils, a ton of filters, and acrylic pencils for the streaks and dust. The mud was Vallejo’s industrial mud mixed with different pigments. I think the results are not half bad.

Let’s hope Trumpeter does some other esotheric tanks, like the IS-6, T57, ELC-AMX, T-10, AMX-50 in plastic, too. All in all this is a neat little kit, worth picking up. Also, check this build out, too.

Zvezda T-28 Soviet heavy tank, 1/100

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I bought a couple of Zvezda’s 1/100 kits during the Tank Festival in Bovingdon, in 2018. They are cheap, and meant for wargaming; I thought I’d give a try building them as display models. They are quick to build, and do not take up much space – ideal if you just want to have an example of a tank sitting on your shelf. Here’s the first one: the T-28 heavy tank.

There is really not much about the build: it is a snap-together kit. The photos of the gallery bellow are in sequence of building and weathering.
 

I tried to add subtle dust, streaking, and other effects; in this scale it is very easy to go overboard. The tank nevertheless looks a bit dull; I think some serious color modulation would have helped.
All in all it is a nice representation of the tank. It does not include decals (I took a red star from an airplane kit), and it does not feature the antenna on the main turret. Since it was not present on all tanks, I did not bother making one; it should not be difficult to scratch one if you are not as relaxed about it.

W-model: Pantsir-S1 Tracked part 2.

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First part 

The painting was reasonably simple. Since there is no painting guide nor decals provided I simply chose an attractive scheme, and used a couple of leftover Modelcollect decals.

The priming was done with Vallejo’s German grey primer; I really like this product as it provides a really good surface for the paint, it can be sprayed without diluting it, and it sticks to any surface. I sprayed a Tamiya buff with some green mixed in as a base, and applied a somewhat darker green free-hand with an airbrush (I used the base coat to lighten Tamiya’s Russian Green). The demarcation lines between the colors were painted on using a very dark grey (representing black) with a brush. I also painted the tracks and the rubber rims of the roadwheels by hand.

Using a 00 brush and Vallejo’s German Black Brown I painted discreet chips and scratches on the tank. I tried not to go overboard; in this scale no chips would be visible, but they do give some visual interest to the model. I also used sponge chipping on larger surfaces.

I added a couple of ochre and brown filters to tie the colors together a bit, dark pin washes, and some dust and mud using pigments. (I did not want to go overboard with the weathering.)

Overall it has been a really nice build, and the model is a pretty unique. It certainly stands out of all the Braille-scale tanks in my collection. Apart from the minor issues I mentioned it should be an easy build for everyone who has a little experience with resin already. The only real downside of this model -as with most resin models – is the price; 52 EURs are pretty steep for a 1/72 kit. This is, unfortunately, the cost of building rare and unique vehicles.